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North Tonawanda High School Students Learn About the Dangers of Distracted Driving | Commentary

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North Tonawanda High School Students Learn About the Dangers of Distracted Driving
North Tonawanda High School Students Learn About the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Now that prom season is in full swing and summer break is nearing, more teens will be on the road. With Memorial Day marking the beginning of AAA’s 100 deadliest days of the year for U.S. teen drivers, schools across the country are re-enforcing lessons in driver safety. To help safeguard local youth drivers AT&T teamed up with North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur Pappas, North Tonawanda Police Department Captain Roger Zgolak, and North Tonawanda High School to educate students on the dangers of texting and driving. The special assembly was part of the school’s pre-prom assembly.

AT&T presented the It Can Wait program, its national public education initiative aimed to curb all smart phone distractions, to more than 260 North Tonawanda high school students. The program featured Kevin Hanna of AT&T, North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur Pappas, North Tonawanda Police Department Captain Roger Zgolak, students and Principal Jim Fisher discussing the grave dangers and legal consequences associated with distracted driving and using a smartphone behind the wheel. The program also included the screening of an emotional documentary, The Last Text which recounts stories of families and students who have lost loved ones or been involved in accidents as a result of texting while driving and AT&T ICW online simulators that allowed students and teachers to experience the dangers of driving and texting in a safe environment. The “It Can Wait” simulators come equipped with an interactive steering wheel, gas/brake pedals and a cell phone to send/receive text messages. The simulation tells the driver when to start, speed up, slow down and when a text has been sent. The driver needs to follow all traffic laws, speed limits, and avoid accidents while reading/replying to texts sent to the cell phone attached to the simulator. The online simulator is also available free at www.itcanwaitsimulator.org.

In addition, the program included information on a new AT&T study released this month that reveal motorists don’t just text and drive at alarming rates, but are also performing more smartphone activities when they are behind the wheel. In fact an unsettling 7-in-10 people admitted to engaging in smartphone activities while driving. Nearly 4-in-10 smartphone users tap into social media while driving. Almost 3-in-10 surf the net. And surprisingly, 1-in-10 video chat. This data is why AT&T has expanded the It Can Wait campaign from a focus on texting while driving to include other smartphone driving distractions that have emerged as our relationships with our devices have changed.

Students and faculty were asked to take the It Can Wait pledge to never text or use their smartphone to post messages while driving and to encourage their families, loved ones and friends to do the same at www.itcanwait.com.

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